There are several reasons why self-booking for business travel is becoming ever more popular:
- Cost savings: Self-booking allows employees to negotiate directly with different hotels and airlines, potentially resulting in lower rates and more favorable terms than a pre-negotiated master agreement with a small set of preferred providers. It also allows employees to choose the most cost-effective options at a given time, considering also budget airlines or booking accommodations with loyalty points, options that are not always available through a TMC.
- Convenience: Self-booking allows employees to book their own travel arrangements, which can be more convenient than going through a travel agent or company travel department. Employees can book their preferred flights and accommodations, and can make changes to their travel plans as needed. Self-booking is particularly popular with millennials and other digital natives.
- Control: Self-booking gives employees more control over their travel arrangements, allowing them to tailor their trips to their specific needs and preferences. Companies can still set travel policies and guidelines that employees can follow when booking their own travel.
- Technology: The availability of online booking tools and travel apps has made it easier for employees to book their own travel and has increased the popularity of self-booking. These tools allow employees to search for and compare flights and accommodations, and to book and manage their travel arrangements online.
Overall, self-booking can provide cost savings, convenience, control, and flexibility for both the company and its employees when it comes to business travel.
Now how can a company easily take advantage of those benefits?
Companies can make it easy to incorporate self-booked trips into expense reports! In particular,
- Provide clear guidelines and policies: Make sure employees are aware of the company's travel policies and guidelines, including what expenses are eligible for reimbursement, the required documentation for each expense, and the reimbursement process.
- Use an expense management tool: Implement an expense management tool that allows employees to easily track and report on their expenses, including self-booked trips. The tool should allow employees to upload receipts and other supporting documentation, and to automatically categorize expenses by type (e.g., airfare, meals, lodging).
- Set up automated expense report generation: Set up a system that can automatically generates expense reports based on the captured receipts and travel bookings forwarded. Not every system does this, and many require manual data entry. An automated receipt recognition system can greatly save time, improve compliance, and reduce the risk of errors in the expense report.
- Offer training and support: Provide some training and support to employees to help them understand the expense report process and how to use the expense management tool. Ideally, you might consider deploying a simple expense management tool that does not require a lot of training and is self-explanatory for employees to use.
By using an expense management tool that fully automates the data entry traditionally involved with expense reports, a company can make it easy for employees to incorporate self-booked trips into expense reports. Such a tool should appear self-explanatory and require as little training as possible.
If you are interested in chatting more about current trends and how ABUKAI may be able to help your business, contact us to learn more.